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This study was undertaken to evaluate the risk of haematogenous dissemination of epithelial cells induced by endoscopic resection and/or cystoprostatectomy for transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. Thirty-three patients were studied. Thirty-one had different stages and grades of bladder cancer and two patients had benign bladder conditions. Twenty-five cancer patients required transurethral resection of their bladder tumour. Of those, 20 had superficial disease (pTaG1-G2: n = 19, pT1G2, n = 1) and five had muscle invasive tumours (pT2G3: n = 2; pT3aG3, n = 1; pT4G3: n = 2). Five patients underwent radical cystoprostatectomy for muscle invasive cancers (pT2G3: n = 3; pT3bG3: n = 1; pT4G3, n = 1) and one man received chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Venous blood (10 ml) was obtained from the antecubital fossa in each patient, before and 1-2 h after completion of surgery, and prior to treatment in the metastatic patient. An indirect immunocytochemical technique was used to detect circulating epithelial cells after centrifugation on Ficoll gradient and fixation of mononuclear cells on slides, using a monoclonal antibody directed against three cytokeratins: CK8, CK18 and CK19. Circulating epithelial cells were detected only in the patient with metastatic disease. None of the other patients had evidence of epithelial circulating cells before or after surgery. The results suggest that irrespective of disease stage and grade, neither endoscopic nor open bladder surgery leads to detectable dissemination of urothelial cells in the peripheral circulation. These procedures are therefore unlikely to increase the risk of progression and metastasis in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Cancer

Publication Date





832 - 834